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  • BLACK GHOST (when compared to WHITE GHOST) seems to be viewed as the lesser of the two, and I can see why. However I didn't think it was that bad, although if I had to choose it would be WHITE GHOST. Just like WHITE GHOST, this kicks off with the ending, as the narrative moves between characters, differing viewpoints and timelines. Nurse Yuko is left in charge of a young girl named Fukie, and begins to experience strange occurrences. A medical examination reveals that she has developed a cyst in her body. The hatred of an unborn child is feeding off the girl, and cursing the people around her. This is a curse of someone who couldn't be born. Could this cyst be something much more than what the doctor's initially thought?

    Props for the unpredictable story going down a different path with the Ju-On curse concept, but it sure was less engaging and convoluted in trying to tie all the plot threads together. Tragedy always lingers in these somber storylines, but something about this one felt less personal therefore not as impactful and the performances are steady without making an impression. Heavy on plot mechanics, where sometimes it would take away from the unsettling ambiance to only confound and cramp up the varied chapters, yet there were a couple eerie, well delivered moments that do standout --- like the WTF moment when the little girl drops to the ground howling and definitely the exorcism scene in the hospital. As for the ghost itself, while that creepy gurgling sound resurfaces, the appearance of the black ghost, whose vengeful intentions bleeds throughout just didn't get under my skin like that of the White ghost in the previous film. There's almost a camp factor to its chills, not as disturbingly low-key and kind of going up a notch with louder frights and off-kilter effects. Still the execution of those moments are well done. Also Toshio makes another quick little cameo appearance.
  • I suppose it makes logical sense for the distributors here to combine both Ju-on: White Ghost and Black Ghost stories in 1 screening. After all, each is only 1 hour long, and narratively are somehow intertwined together quite loosely, with their production marking 10 years since Ju-on's cinematic premiere. Helmed by two different directors, we're given two direct-to-video productions, each with its own flavour and separate storyline dealing with the Ju-On Grudge curse, and frankly, with its limited production budget and consistent elements,

    For those unfamiliar with the Ju-on mythos (like me), fret not, as the films are self- contained, so prior in-depth knowledge is not required to enjoy what's essentially one of the longer enduring J-horror franchises out there, which has been remade by Hollywood as always. For both tales, the story lines were done in non-linear fashion, which is supposed to make you work at piecing together its chronology, with an increased challenge in White Ghost being two separate timelines you have to make mental notes of.

    Then there's the episodic cliffhanger that trails off each segment. On its own, the episodes within White Ghost and Black Ghost can be extremely short stories of their own, since each contains its own dedicated shock-scare moments, though White Ghost seemed to enjoy making it look so cheesy with its atmospheric jump scares, sudden appearances and the likes, and I admit it did get to me, especially with that old ugly woman with a penchant for holding onto a basketball (yes, all will be explained in due course) seem to have a fetish for charging towards her victim / screen.

    Personally, between the two, I'd prefer White Ghost to Black Ghost, mainly because of the storyline which was more engaging and kept within its limits, save for a tangent in White Ghost for AV star Mihiro to appear in a needless scene that had most of her screen time being butchered for a screening here (no, my friend who has met her before, says there's nothing sexy about that segment, more of a violent treatment which was rather tame that the censors frowned upon). For Black Ghost, it went off into the hokeyness of a Japanese medium of sorts, probably to show off some snazzy looking CG-ed belly, and a tale that's less engaging.

    For what it's worth, these stories did enough to pique my interest in the original Ju-on mythos, and I just might pick them up on DVD just to see how those got executed. For starters though, I have to get used to how "The Grudge" can be used as a plot device for ghouls to get created / passed on, as I felt White Ghost had it quite nailed down, and Black Ghost didn't exactly do a great job on that concept.
  • This film is not extraordinary in any way. With that said, I still believe it's worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of the Ju On series. While I understand that some might be a little disappointed that the surrounding lore of the series isn't very present at all in this film,I found it as something of a plus. As someone who has no history with this film series, coming into this one blind, I was afraid that this film would be heavily reliant on the surrounding lore of its universe. So I was happy to see that everything was easy to understand. While, of course, I would never, in good faith, recommend someone make their first foray into a film series by starting in the middle (save for the Star Wars series) I don't think this is necessarily a bad film to help introduce someone to this series.

    This film isn't the scariest I've ever seen. There were only a couple moments which I thought were unsettling, but I can't match the sentiment of some other who have said that this is sillier than it is scary since I don't think there is much silliness in this film at all, but your mileage may vary. Humor and horror is all subjective so keep that in mind.

    The performances are pretty good, especially the performance for Fukie. There is only one moment towards the end where I felt things got a little campy but for the vast majority of the film the acting if fine.

    The film's run time is very short, and for western audiences it might feel too short as it is not even an hour long. But the film is surprisingly well-paced and the use of the short amount of time it takes up is surprisingly great. It does what it needs to do, there's hardly any filler, and it feels substantial-everything you're shown is important in some way.

    The biggest issue with this film is that it simply doesn't leave too much of an impression. It's fun while watching it but you're not going to be thinking much of it shortly afterwards, and I think that's the biggest fault in this film. It exists, I think, mainly to give more Ju On content regardless of how little of it it might have to offer. I think that's why this film has such a middling reputation and I can't help but match the sentiment of that critique. It's not badly made, it's not offensive, it's not even bad, it's just a semi-forgettable romp that's only really engaging in the moment you're experiencing it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    At this point the Ju On films seem to be alternating one good to one bad. So where White Ghost was quite intensely scary throughout, I found Black Ghost to lack much in the way of frights. The ghost pregnancy theme was reused from previous films and didn't deliver (geddit).

    In all, it had potential but it couldn't really follow White Ghost in terms of horror, and opted for a more dramatic thriller type movie.

    Also Toshio (or a boy resembling him as closely as possible without being him) had a very brief cameo. Why did he show up in a film that wasn't related to The Curse or Grudge films? Another quite nonsensical mystery that Ju-On films seem to be good at slotting in. Maybe there is an explanation that I missed for this appearance, or maybe it was just an opportune moment.

    Perhaps I'll never know.
  • JU-ON: BLACK GHOST is a short Japanese horror film, a follow-up to the earlier two GRUDGE movies and a film made back-to-back with JU-ON: WHITE GHOST. I watched WHITE GHOST previously and it was much the better film: the plot held together better, there were many reasons to watch, and it was pretty spooky. BLACK GHOST by comparison doesn't have much going for it.

    The story once again revolves around the long-haired ghost from the original, and as in WHITE GHOST the narrative plays out as a series of vignettes involving different but linked characters. Sadly, the whole is a lot less than the sum of the parts here. The main haunted characters are a mother and daughter; a second child died in the womb and is now possessed by the original angry ghost spirit which is looking for revenge.

    The performances are okay, but this film looks really cheap and the scares are too well telegraphed in advance. Saying that, there is one great effects scene at the climax involving a distended stomach, the one decent moment in the film in fact; a shame that more of it couldn't have been like that.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A young girl is taken to hospital after fainting in class. There, she is found to have a cyst growing in her uterus. This cyst is actually the remains of the girl's unborn twin sister, who was absorbed into her body while in her mother's womb. The spirit of the unborn child begins to spread a lethal curse to all those who go near it.

    The Ju-On series has become one of Japan's most successful horror franchises, spawning something like seven films (two direct-to-video films, two bigger budgeted remakes & a further trilogy of American-made remakes) & has earned a reputation as one of the scariest ghost stories ever to come out of Japan. Indeed JU-ON: THE GRUDGE has been holding the title of 'most terrifying ghost story' until the emergence of the ultra-cheap but ultra-scary PARANORMAL ACTIVITY & its various sequels. In 2009, two directors were chosen to make a pair of DTV features celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Ju-On phenomenon. The films – Ju-On: Girl in Black (also known as Ju-On: Black Ghost) & Ju-On: Old Lady in White (aka Ju-On: White Ghost) – were released simultaneously & run to an hour each.

    Ju-On: Girl in Black is one of the most boring ghost stories I have sat through in some time. It is well-made in a technical viewpoint but the story is poorly developed. I understand that Mari Asaro was trying to make the film similar to Takeshi Shimizu's original franchise by using the non-linear narrative structure & bloodless fatal hauntings but Asaro stuffs up the concept & botches the story by relying too much on what has become clichés within the genre. Shimizu at least had the demented genius & made the Ju-On films scary to the point of being life-threatening to those with weak tickers by using some simple but very effective tricks (the unearthly croaking sound made by the female phantom of the franchise & the novelty pop-up effects coming from the strangest locations) but made sure these tricks were supported by the story. Girl in Black doesn't have that luxury. Mari Asaro fails to support the effects with a clear story & the visual effects look extremely cheap. Not to mention that the absence of the franchise's mother-&-son team of ghostly assassins has left a gaping hole in this film.

    Having said that, the film does have some reasonable spooky moments but this fails to elevate Ju-On: Girl in Black to anything above functional mediocrity.
  • tHE_uKER24 October 2009
    I am a fan of the Ju-On series. Seen all four of the previous Japanese movies and all three American versions. This I must say is the worst I've seen (haven't seen Shiroi Rôjo yet). It's plain generic Asian horror. Nothing to do with the rest of the Ju-On series. Toshio appears in a scene but it's just tucked in. No relation to the plot at all. Then there's Kayako's signature noise every now and then, but also for no reason at all. I also couldn't find any climactic moments or the constantly tense ambient in the other movies. After 6 years without anything happening with the series, and now these two movies being released to celebrate the series' tenth anniversary, one would expect them to be something special. Unfortunately, they're not. Truly a sad disappointment.